October 05, 2015

A Colorful Response

Today we are excited to have a guest blog from our Director of Visual Branding, Cathleen Foley!

“What’s your favorite color?” is a common question I get asked as a graphic designer. I usually respond with, “Well, what is the color being applied to?”

Colors can make you feel a certain way. For instance, I like soft neutrals when it comes to painting my walls because it makes me feel calm, but bright red for a dress because I feel fun and exciting.” That’s my nerdy design answer to someone who was probably looking for a one-word answer like, “blue.”

But it’s true. In the article, What the Color of Your Logo Says About Your Company, Catherine Clifford states, “different colors are associated with different feelings.” She cites that 93% of purchasing judgments are made on visual perceptions and 84.7% of consumers cite color as their main reason for buying a particular product.

Based on those facts, when it comes to building a brand, choosing the right color is so important. I frequently urge clients to step away from the “I like” mentality, as color is subjective.

For example, just because you like the colors blue and black as a Carolina Panthers fan, doesn’t mean those colors are appropriate for your brand. (Side note: biases can creep into blog examples too – go Panthers!) According to the psychology of colors, if your brand is imaginative and creative, purple might be the best color. However, if your brand is sophisticated, black is an appropriate choice.

I agree that when choosing the right color for your brand, color psychology should be evaluated. However, it doesn’t stop there.

When deciding on a color for a brand, you should also audit the competitive color landscape and make a business decision if your brand wants to fit in or stand out. A bright orange in the midst of a sea of blue could make the new brand pop. However, a blue color palette would be appropriate and help a new brand build off of existing brand equity in the space.

So whether you’re developing a new brand color palette or answering the what’s-your-favorite-color question, you can now explain the psychology behind your response!

Addison Whitney is a global branding firm with a passion for building strong brands.
To learn more about Addison Whitney, visit our website at, or contact us here.

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